Australian food-tech start-up PERKii has raised $3 million from a funding round comprised of existing shareholders and led by research commercialisation fund Uniseed.
As well as driving local market expansion, the funds will enable PERKii to establish production of its technology in the US.
The start-up uses its patented ProGel technology to produce what it claims is the world’s first water and juice encapsulated probiotic drink.
Its first drink range was launched in mid-2016 and is now sold in over 2,000 stores across Australia and New Zealand.
CEO Matthew Kowal said: “While people are now increasingly aware of the benefits of probiotics, the format and the performance in the digestive tract of existing products have been limited – up until now.
“Using the patented ProGel technology, PERKii makes probiotics better. We coat the probiotic in natural ingredients to provide protection through the stomach, creating a delicious, low calorie and fermentation-free drink.
“We’ve chosen a globally-recognised strain of probiotic shown to enhance immune response, digestive health and improve recovery time from cold and flu symptoms. However, the technology can be applied to any probiotic.”
Chairman Peter Devine added: “As the popularity of high-sugar, carbonated soft drinks continue to decline, we’re seeing a strong local appetite for “Better-For-You” beverages, such as PERKii’s range, using ProGel technology.
“And, of course, consumer demand for high quality probiotic supplements is strong as we learn more about how a healthy gut can positively influence overall health and wellbeing.”